I live in a three-story Victorian home, built in 1896, the year, actually, my grandmother was born … in Holland. I have a husband of 42 years and two beautiful children, who each, now, have a child of their own. My daughter has a boy. My son has a daughter, and their spouses seem content in their parents spoiling them to no end.
Last weekend, they came to visit my beautiful home, all six of them. The kids (8 and 6) slept in the attic, complete with sleeping bags and flashlights, their parents spent their time in the two other bedrooms on the second level, able to hear every move they made from the giggling of voices to the dropping of books.
As grandparents, we stuck to our digs on the main level, less noisy, less intrusive, conveniently adjacent to the kitchen, which is always the busiest room in the house.
As our able and kind lab kept track of everyone’s whereabouts, I shuffled meals and dishes as my husband rounded up toys, put them away, and brought them out again when requested. Clean, rinse, repeat, once every few hours, depending on the snacks and hiding of the toys.
As was always a favorite game of my kids, we devised a treasure hunt for the little ones. While parents took the kids to the park for a bit, we wrote notes, hid clues, made puzzles, and tired our dangdest to come up with brain teasers which would be challenging, mostly to our own kids!
As the hunt began, eyes grew wide and smile’s turned into contortions, figuring out the next spot where the clue would be found. We had a couple of scraped knees when the little ones knew the clue would be in the clubhouse in the garage rafters; and another bump on the head when my too-tall son tried to climb the attic stairs a bit too fast. Alas, everyone found their ‘goodie box’ and tea was served on the front porch, complete with tea cakes and blueberries. Our dear lab fell asleep even before he laid down …
As we waved goodbye to them Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help but have a tear in my eye and a catch in my throat. Children give you a chance to love as you’ve never loved before. And grandchildren offer you the chance to share that love and newfound joy in ways you’ll never know until you experience it.
With all the chaos and havoc our earth and lives endure now, with no promise of betterment, I’m hesitant to encourage anyone to have children. But when I see the joy and love our family experiences, woven with the grief and uncertainty, I become selfish and am grateful I have the intuitive and curious angels that I do and will strive to leave them a world as good as I can make it.
Did I mention we slept for two days straight after they left?